I updated "Following Piece", a 1969 work by Vito Acconci. Almost every day for a month, Acconci chose somebody at random in a public place and followed them until they disappeared into a private place. He took brief notes about their activities and then mailed them to other members of the art world. I updated this piece by picking one person at random from my high school for each day of the last month and recording their activities as made public by the Facebook News Feed; the project was then completed by e-mailing the notes to other members of the digital art world, in this case my MCM0750 classmates. In doing so I tried to stick as closely as possible to the conventions of capitalization, punctuation, description, and time notation established by Acconci in his original piece.
What I found most interesting in completing this project was the change in both what and how much information was public and private from the real world of 1969 to the digital world of Facebook in 2008. The Facebook News Feed makes public much more personal and in-depth information about people, from their statuses to the groups they join to their actual online conversations with their friends, but at the same time it is optional, meaning that there was a much broader range in the quantities of information gathered - while Acconci usually got similar amounts of information from those he followed, and only got nothing on the days he chose not to follow people, my information ranged from long accounts of photo-tagging, friending and wall-posting to silence from people who chose to disable their news feeds. Also of note, though the nature of my update project did not directly address this, is that Facebook News Feeds store information for long periods of time after the fact, while Acconci could only see where people were going at the exact moment he followed them. Another potential but unavoidable flaw of the project is that you can now find out people's names, even if they are strangers, if they are on your network, though Acconci could not find the names of the strangers he followed; however, I omitted these from the project because I felt that would be too invasive.
'following piece', 1969
by vito acconci.
9:12AM, in front of door, 102 Christopher St, my home: Man in gray suit – he walks W on Christopher, S side of street.
9:17AM: he gets into car parked outside post office, Christopher & Greenwich, and drives away.
9:25AM, Christopher St & Bleecker, SW corner: Woman in black coat – she walks E on Christopher, N side of street.
9:28AM: she walks into A&P, Christopher St & 7th Ave.
9:59AM: she leaves A&P and walks W on Christopher.
10:03AM: she enters building, 95 Christopher St.
10:21AM, Christopher St & 7th Ave, SW corner: Man in brown jacket – he crosses 7th and enters IRT subway station, uptown side.
10:31AM: he boards Broadway local, uptown.
10:38AM: he gets off train, 28th St; he walks S on 7th Ave, turns E on 27th St.
10:42AM: he enters building, 105 W 27th St.
10:36AM, 14th St & 6th Ave, NE corner: Man in red jacket – he walks N on 6th, W side of street.
10:38AM: he stops at 15th St, SW corner, and hails cab.
10:44AM: he gets into cab.
7:20PM, 14th St & 6th Ave, NW corner: Man in tan jacket – he walks E on 14th, S side of street.
7:28PM: he enters Italian Kitchen restaurant.
8:07PM: he leaves Italian Kitchen.
8:10PM: he enters Academy of Music movie theater, 126 E. 14th St, where Paranoia and The Oblong Box are playing.
10:05PM: after seeing only parts of both movies, he leaves theater; he walks E on 14th St, N side of street.
10:23PM: he enters building, 534 14th St, between Ave A & B.
12:04PM, 14th St & 2nd Ave, SW corner: Man in black sweater – he walks W on 14th St, S side of street.
12:10PM: just W of Broadway, on 14th St, I lose sight of him.
10:21AM, 23rd St & 6th Ave, NW corner: Woman in gray coat – she walks E on 23rd St.
10:26AM: she enters park, 23rd St & 5th Ave, and sits down on bench.
11:14AM: she walks to BMT subway station, 23rd St & 5th Ave, uptown side.
11:23AM: she boards RR train to Queens.
11:54AM: she gets off train at 30th Ave., and walks W on 30th St.
12:07PM: she enters house, 23-01 30th Ave.
1:28PM, 31st St & 6th Ave, SW corner: Woman in blue dress – she walks N on 6th Ave, E on 35th St.
1:47PM: she enters Franklin & Simon department store, employees' entrance, between 5th & 6th Ave; she goes to 1st floor, where she works behind jewelry counter.
6PM: she leaves Franklin & Simon, and walks W on 35th St; at subway station, 35th St & 6th Ave, she walks down and goes to uptown side, IND subway.
6:13PM: she boards D train uptown.
6:44PM: she gets off train at Fordham Rd, The Bronx; she walks E on Fordham, S on Tiebout Ave.
6:57PM: she enters apartment building, 2428 Tiebout Ave.
3:44PM, 8th St. & 6th Ave., NE corner: Woman in orange coat – she walks E on 8th St, N side of street.
3:57PM: she enters Fred Braun leather store.
4:18PM: she leaves Fred Braun and continues E.
4:29PM: she enters Experiment One, clothing store.
4:53PM: she leaves Experiment One and walks W.
4:56PM: she enters Eighth St. Bookstore.
5:10PM: she leaves Eighth St. Bookstore and walks E.
5:26PM: she enters Michele, shoe store.
5:59PM: she leaves Michele and continues E.
6:12PM: she goes down into IRT subway station, Astor Place, uptown side.
6:15PM: she boards uptown local.
6:39PM: she gets off train at 77th St, walks E on 77th, turns S on York Ave.
7:12PM: she enters building, 1432 York Ave.
I didn't follow anyone.
11:10AM, Bleecker & 10th St, SW corner: Man in brown jacket – he walks S on Bleecker, W side of street.
11:17AM: he enters Bleecker St Hardware Store, 316 Bleecker St.
11:26AM: he leaves Bleecker St Hardware Store and walks N on Bleecker, W side of street, then W on 10th, S side of Street.
11:32AM: he enters apartment building, 240 W10th St.
5PM, 6th Ave & 4th St, SW corner: Man with black attache case – he walks S on 6th Ave.
5:01PM: he goes down into IND subway station, 6th Ave & 3rd St, and stands on uptown side, upper platform.
5:08PM: he boards F train uptown.
5:50PM: he gets off at 169th St, Jamaica; he stands on line at bus stop, Hillside Ave & Homelawn St.
5:59PM: he boards 17A bus; line is too long and I'm too far behind him - I can't get on.
6PM, Bryant Park, 42nd St., library side: Man in dungarees – he walks W on 42nd St, S side of street, then N on 6th Ave, W side of street.
6:14PM: he turns W on 54th St, S side of street.
6:19PM: he enters apartment building, 403 W 54th St.
I didn't follow anyone.
3:15PM, 2nd Ave & St Mark's Pl: Woman in yellow pants – she walks W on St Mark's, N side of street.
3:19PM: she enters Duke's Leather Shop, 11 St Mark's Pl.
3:28PM: she leaves Duke's and enters Kristina Gorby's, 7 St Mark's Pl.
3:47PM: she leaves Kristina Gorby's and goes down into IRT subway station, Astor place, downtown side.
3:49PM: she boards downtown local.
3:55PM: she gets off at Brooklyn Bridge.
3:59PM: she boards Utica Ave Train.
4:17PM: she gets off at Court St, Brooklyn, and walks W on Joralemon St, S on Hicks.
4:25PM: she enters apartment building, 272 Hicks St.
12:20PM, 10th St & 6th Ave, SE corner: Man in tan jacket – he walks S on 6th Ave.
12:23PM: he goes into Whelan's Drug Store, 6th Ave & 8th St.
12:38PM: he leaves Whelan's and walks E on 8th St, N side of street.
12:40PM: at McDougal St, he crosses to other side of 8th St and sits on ledge outside Paperback Booksmith's, 30 W 8th St; he spends next few hours there, looking around and talking to passers-by.
4:28PM: he and woman in black cape walk E on 8th St, S side of street.
5:05PM: they turn S on Ave B, E side of street.
5:09PM: they turn E on 5th St, N side of street.
5:12PM: they enter apartment building, 725 E 5th St.
2:15PM, Broadway & 65th St, NE corner: Man in denim jacket – he walks E on 65th St.
2:17PM: he turns S on central Park W, W side of street.
2:21PM: he goes down into subway station, 60th St & Central Park W, and stands on downtown IRT platform.
2:27PM: he boards Broadway local downtown.
2:55PM: he gets off at Chambers St and walks N on Hudson St, W on Duane.
3:04PM: he enters building, 193 Duane St.
5:10PM, 6th Ave & 3rd St, NE corner: Man in black coat – he crosses 6th Ave and walks N, W side of street,
5:13PM: he turns W on W 4th St, S side of street.
5:17PM: he goes into International Supermarket, Sheridan Square.
5:38PM: he leaves International Supermarket, crosses 7th Ave, and walks W on Christopher St, S side of street.
5:42PM: he enters apartment building, 84 Christopher St.
3:12PM, 49th St & Broadway, NW corner: Woman in white dress – she walks N on Broadway, W side of street.
3:14PM: she goes down into IRT subway station, Broadway & 50th St, downtown side.
3:18PM: she boards Broadway local, downtown.
3:19PM: she gets off at 42nd St, Times Square.
3:22PM: she boards New Lots Ave Train.
3:57PM: she gets off at Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, and walks S on Prospect Park W, W side of street.
4PM: she turns W on Union St, N side of street.
4:03PM: she enters apartment building, 879 Union St.
3:20PM, 23rd St & 3rd Ave, NE corner: Man in brown suit – he walks west on 23rd St.
3:25PM: he goes down into IRT subway station, 23rd St & Park Ave S, downtown side.
3:30PM: he boards downtown local.
3:31PM: he gets off at 14th St.
3:35PM: he boards Utica Ave Train.
4:16PM: he gets off at Nevins St, Brooklyn.
4:22PM: he boards Flatbush Ave train.
4:42PM: he gets off at Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, and walks S on Nostrand Ave.
4"45PM: he enters apartment building, 2019 Nostrand Ave.
2PM, Christopher St & Hudson, NE corner: Man in striped pants – he walks S on Hudson St, E side of street.
2:04PM: he enters L & L Locksmith's, 442 Hudson St; he goes behind counter and spends next few hours there.
6:12PM: he leaves store, locks it, and enters adjacent building.
10:15AM, Grove St & Bleecker, NW corner: Woman in green coat – she walks SE on Bleecker, W side of street.
10:21AM: she enters Dry-cleaner's on 6th Ave & Downing St.
10:45PM: when I look into Dry-cleaner's, she is no longer there.
10:30AM, Christopher St & Hudson, SE corner: Man in blue jacket – he walks S on Hudson, W side of street.
10:34AM: he enters Golden Rule liquor store, 457 Hudson St.
10:40AM: he leaves Golden Rule, and walks N on Hudson, E side of street.
10:42AM: he turns E on Grove St, N side of street.
10:44AM: he turns S on Bedford St, E side of street, and enters first apartment building, 90 Bedford St.
'following piece update', 2008
by michael frauenhofer.
8:15AM: Boy playing basketball – he befriends a girl with white hoop earrings.
4:20PM: Girl with flower in her hair – she says "i knowwwwwwwwwwww!!! i wasnt expecting it! hahahaha yea im missin your tuna fish taco stench as well..." to a girl in a gray hat.
4:45PM: she is i do believe in fairies .. i do .. i do.
9:33PM: she turns into a girl with a floral headband.
9:45PM: she says "check out my picture!!" to a girl with short brown hair.
9:46PM: she says "thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanksssssss i love themmmm :]]]]]]]].. so are you coming over tomorrow? and what time? cause i know before 4 iiiight call me on my house phone though cause i cant find my celll...oops" to a girl in a spiderweb hat.
9:47PM: Girl in bathroom mirror – she befriends a blue question mark.
Girl with silver locket had a blank news feed.
Girl in black sweatpants had a blank news feed.
Girl in white hat had a blank news feed.
Boy with short hair had a blank news feed.
7:03PM: Boy with cowbell – he adds the Movies application.
7:03PM: he adds Flixter Movies.
7:05PM: he answers 10 out of 10 questions correctly in the Happy Gilmore movie quiz.
10:57AM: Girl with blonde hair – she adds the HairMixer application.
11:04AM: she adds the Addicted to One Tree Hill application.
1:10PM: she says "happy birthday (:" to a girl with brown hair.
1:17PM: she adds a new bumper sticker.
1:20PM: she gives a girl in a green shirt a new bumper sticker.
Girl kissing boy had a blank news feed.
Girl in mirror had a blank news feed.
Girl in dark room had a blank news feed.
6:44AM: Girl in tie-dye shorts – she adds the Honesty Box application.
1:00PM: she is tagged by a girl with an orange cellphone in five photos from the album "varsityyy cheerleading =]".
2:46PM: Girl in prom dress – she gives girl in black dress a new bumper sticker.
8:21PM: she befriends a shirtless boy.
Girl in green t-shirt had a blank news feed.
Graffiti artwork of the Bloods hand sign had a blank news feed.
Girl in black shirt had a blank news feed.
4:44PM: Boy in tree – he joins the group Feed a Child with just a Click!.
Girl with curly hair had a blank news feed.
3:54PM: Dancing girl in jean skirt – she adds the What Kind of Drunk Are You? application.
10:33AM: Girl in Hollister shirt – she befriends a boy in a striped hoodie.
Girl in green dress had a blank news feed.
Boy in red and white t-shirt had a blank news feed.
Boy in backwards baseball cap had a blank news feed.
Boy in black knit cap had a blank news feed.
Girl in black hoodie had a blank news feed.
Blue question mark had a blank news feed.
11:56PM: Boy in swimming pool – he adds a new bumper sticker.
5:49PM: Girl with dog – she is BREAKING THE RULES.
5:49PM: she befriends a boy with a shaved head.
5:49PM: she befriends a girl with hair in her face.
5:50PM: she joins the group Even God Hates Creed.
5:51PM: she joins the group Aubzee gots a cell phoneee.
5:51PM: she joins the group Max has a New Phone/Plan!
5:51PM: she joins the group Feed a Child with just a Click!
5:51PM: she joins the group For Every 100 People Who Join, I Will Donate $5 to Invisible Children.
5:54PM: she says "I CAN PLAY THE ELGAR! YAY!" to a boy with a cello.
7:43PM: Girl hugging boy – she tags herself in a photo from the album "SENIORS".
1:06AM: Girl in blue shirt – she befriends a shirtless boy in a parka.
1:47AM: she adds 18 photos to the album "yeay!".
1:48AM: she tags herself in 12 photos from the album "yeay!".
2:48AM: she gets the result "You're a B-Davis Wiz!" from the "Do You Know Brooke Davis?" One Tree Hill quiz.
2:51AM: she gets the result "Peyton Sawyer" from the "Are You Haley, Brooke, Peyton, or Rachel?" One Tree Hill quiz.
2:52AM: she answers 3 out of 8 questions correctly in the "How well do you really know the OC?" The OC quiz.
2:54AM: she gets the result "Summer" from the "Which OC Girl are you ? Marrisa Summer Taylor Anna or Kaitlin?" The OC quiz.
2:56AM: she gets the result "Seth Cohen" from the "Who Would Be your Boyfriend on The OC?" The OC quiz.
2:58AM: she gets the result "Your THE OC expert (:♥" from the "are you an oc expert?" The OC quiz.
12:09PM: she joins the group If 1,000,000 People Join I'll Legally Change My Name to Mclovin.
7:10PM: Girl with white headband – she befriends a girl in a yellow dress.